After last week’s interesting turn, it was a relief to finally clear up the “Dr. Olivia” misunderstanding. It turns out that Ines had received an email before I arrived describing my educational background and work experience. The higher education system works differently here in Ecuador, and most college graduates finish school with a certificate of some kind. When Ines saw that I was a psychology major and have worked in several hospitals, she assumed that I was indeed a psychologist. Ah, cross-cultural differences. There’s just so much that can get lost in translation.
Luckily, I was able to meet with Ines and Gina, my VASE coordinator, to iron out the details of what I’ll be doing at FUDIS, since the initial plan obviously wasn’t going to work out. The activities I lead will be largely up to me – meaning that I have a whole lot of brainstorming to do in the next few days. I’m thinking of incorporating more art therapy into the programming here, as well as introducing some physical activities. FUDIS is also in desperate need of a better admissions system, so I’ll be lending my Excel talents in the office a few mornings a week.
Now that I’ve got a clear focus, I’m feeling ready to embrace my work at FUDIS and am really looking forward to the months ahead. Of course, I’m also looking forward to this weekend – its Carnaval, which is a huge pre-Lenten celebration that involves a lot of water balloons and talcum powder (or so I’ve heard). I’m headed to the coast with a few friends to see what all the fuss is about. Should be a treat!